posted on Aug, 13 2013 @ 02:59 PM
The Boy Who Ran
Boy Who Runs felt his feet pounding the red dust, sending puffs of it up at his feet. His heart pounded hard in his chest like the women cracking
grains and seeds at the grinding stones, a sharp quick rhythm that churned into flour. His breath came fast as he pushed his strong legs, anger
carrying him farther away than he had ever run before. He crashed his way into the desert, water skin bouncing at his back, eyes fierce to the sun,
willing the pain in his chest that was greater than the ache of running to fade. Instead, all he could see was Yellow Flower, his Yellow Flower,
sitting next to True His Spear after the dances, accepting his gifts. True His Spear had laughed at him, knowing his heart bled for Yellow Flower,
and knowing he could not participate in the Dances as he still had his baby name – Boy Who Runs.
And true to it, he ran again, so no one would see his tears of shame. He would run so far they would never find him, and the desert would be the last
of his story, his bones scraped white by the Raven and Vulture people. His Grandmother had told him each day was the same day, and from the dark came
this day’s new story. Great Sun flew his path, moon came and hung her love-sick face in the sky, the star-people and Great Spirit watched from
above and danced their dances, and all was the waking and sleeping of one long dream. Today’s story would bring death, and an end to torment, and
he would die a boy no one would tell stories about around the fires at gatherings, unless it was to warn the other boys what would happen if they did
not find their man-name. Still, he ran.
He passed the Stone People, which was the last of the landmarks he knew. At some point he broke through the pain, and his body felt dried out like
husks and jerky, still moving the red dirt under him, he slowed into a purposeful stride, pulling his water skin to his lips to moisten his thickening
tongue. Knowing the desert would eat him, he decided to see how far his legs would carry him first, an odd curiosity struck him and the newness of
the earth he covered giving him that one last goal.
Slower still as night fell chill and vast, the whole sky melting into colors he had never seen before. He was running, stumbling, going on the
remainder of his will alone. When dark hit, there would be no sorrowing moon to guide his steps. It would be the end. With a great heave and sigh
he fell to his knees, there in the middle of the world, alone and chasing the last of his breath. He brought the water to his mouth and let it
trickle slowly down his throat, then faster, like the spring rain filled the canyons, until the last drop splashed and he knew he had fallen beyond
hope, beyond life.
He sang a prayer, defying the old men and women who would not let him sing a man’s song, then he wasted his water on tears for the Yellow Flower
that bloomed in the desert, for his Grandmother, who would miss him, and for the injustice of the elders. Cold filled the desert night, as harsh and
as unforgiving as the Great Sun; he burned with both, and could not rise to seek shelter. It did not matter. He was beyond shelter. Boy Who Ran
curled up into misery and stared into the spinning dark.
A light, strange and red, darted into the sky, moving fast. He stared at it, wondering what sky-god would be rushing about in the desert. It came
closer, growing larger and brighter. It flew above him and passed over him – a perfect circle in a muted red light, like the sun hiding behind a
veil of mist. The red circle stopped in the air and hung there for a long while. Boy Who Ran was beyond fear, beyond curiosity, even, as he shivered
in the cooling sand. He watched it impassively. It got larger and larger, expanding itself, he thought – until he realized it was coming down from
the sky towards him. He made the effort to turn his head to the side to track it as it came down to touch the earth, red hot like coals from a fire,
it went suddenly dark, startling him. Another light came, a gentle white glow, and he could see silver. The strange disc shape was made entirely of
silver, like his Grandmother’s necklace. The disc opened its mouth. He wondered what the Star God would eat in the desert at night. Then figures,
like and unlike men, came out of the mouth of the Star God. They were dressed in pure white, with strange, thick, lumpy arms and legs, swollen like
cocoons. And their heads were large, and they wore spirit masks of silver and white. They walked slowly, like the old ones, and the light shone down
on him. The two figures stopped and looked down on him while he watched them, his mind numb and his body trembling with cold. They looked at each
other, not speaking, then he heard their voices in his head.
“Come with us,” they said.
He replied, “I am dead. I cannot rise.”
After a few moments, they pulled on him, helping him to sit up.
“You are not dead. Come with us,” they chimed together, “we will help you.”
And so, with little lifts and pushes he managed to grind himself to his knees, and then to his swollen, blistered feet. They supported him, and he
was swallowed by the great disc of the Star Gods. As he went into the light, he no longer felt his feet, somehow he was flying, and then he saw no
more for a long, long time.
* * *
He Who Walks The Stars sat in the place of honor at the Dances. He was an old man now, and he watched his children’s children hide behind their
mother’s skirts. He gazed lovingly over at Yellow Flower, who was still as beautiful to him as the day he had stolen her from True His Spear.
Soon, it would be time for him to tell the Great Story of the Star Gods, and to share with them the wisdom they had given him, and the powers of the
new herbs and the making and planting of new kinds of grain to eat and the healing of laying on of hands they had taught him, and so he would do every
Spring until he awakened no more. At night, he would tell Yellow Flower all the secrets of the Great Sun, who was no more than a ball of fire, and
the moon who was a pock-marked and desolate desert, and the blue and white earth that hung like a bead in the endless night; but these things were not
yet for the people to know, though one day, the Star Gods had told him, the people of Earth would again walk among the stars.